D.B. Cooper Skyjacker: A Report On The Mystery

1889 words - 8 pages

The History of the HijackingOn the Thanksgiving Eve of 1971, Dan Cooper walked past the ticket booth towait to board a plane from Portland, Oregon to Seattle-Tacoma Airport (Sea-Tac), Washington. He had bought a one-way ticket to Seattle with a 20-dollar bill. He was a normal looking man of some 30 years old, he lookedso benign and business looking that no one would have ever suspected thathe would soon become a famous skyjacker. At little past 4' o clock in theevening, he boarded Flight 305 to Seattle. Just before the plane took offfrom Portland, Dan Cooper passed a note to a stewardess (FlorenceSchaffner) demanding 4 parachutes, $200 thousand in unmarked bills andcautioning the plane crew ...view middle of the document...

After his demands were met, Dan Cooper allowed thestill ignorant passengers to get off the plane unharmed. All but one ofthe stewardess and the pilots took the opportunity to get off the plane.Although the FBI provided him with unmarked $20 bills, the FBI had managedto photocopy all of the notes using a high-speed Xerox machine; the copieswould later prove crucial when some of the ransom notes were to be found.The Boeing 747 was refueled at Dan Cooper's orders. After the plane wasrefueled Dan Cooper ordered the pilot to fly to Mexico with "flaps set to15-degrees, to not exceed 170 miles per hour and exceed the height of10,000 feet."[2] The pilot persuaded Dan Cooper that the plane couldn'treach Mexico from Seattle with flaps at 15o due to turbulence and otherfactors. Therefore, Dan Cooper ordered that the plane be flown to Reno,Nevada where the plane would be refueled. "The plane departed for Reno[from Sea-Tac] at 7:44 p.m. Some time after the takeoff, Cooper asked TinaLarson [the remaining stewardess] for instructions to lower the back [aft]stairs in the back of the Boeing 727. He then ordered the stewardess to.goand remain with the rest of the crew in the cockpit."2 "At around 8:00 p.m.the pilot noticed a red warning light which indicated .[that the rear] doorwas open. The alarmed pilot asked over the intercom 'Is everything OK backthere? Is there anything we can do for you?' 'No!' shouted Cooper" [3]and that was the last time anyone saw or heard from him again. After theplane landed in Reno, the investigators discovered that Dan Cooper hadjumped off the plane. A pair of F-106s, which were following the hijackedplane, were within 5 miles of the airplane when Cooper was believed to havejumped off. However, the pilots in each of the F-106s claimed that theydidn't see anyone jumping off the hijacked plane. On the days followingthe Thanksgiving Eve, investigators scoured through the pine forests inwhich Dan Cooper jumped into. As the search continued, investigators foundtwo bodies, but the bodies were of people who had nothing to do with thecase.Physical EvidenceWhen the plane landed in Reno and the investigators thoroughly searched theplane, they didn't find much physical evidence left behind by Dan Cooper.When the investigators searched the plane, they found the remains ofseveral "Raleigh" cigarettes, which Cooper smoked after he had successfullyhijacked the plane. In addition to the cigarette remains, Cooper leftbehind his tie and tie clip when he jumped off the plane. Theinvestigators, however, had been deprived of an important piece ofevidence. Dan Cooper had ordered the note he had passed to FlorenceSchaffner to be returned to him, so the investigators couldn't get a sampleof his handwriting. Some investigators now suspect that note by Dan Cooperwas burned in the plane with the cigarettes. Years later, on Feb. 10, 1980(9 years after the skyjacking), a boy digging a pit near Vancouver,Washington found $5,800 of $20 bills. The serial numbers...

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